Fans, media should judge Emery by what he does, not by what he says or doesn’t say

January 31st, 2012 - 9:56 am

The Bears unveiled change at Halas Hall at 2 p.m. on Monday when they introduced Phil Emery as the organization’s new general manager.

By 3 p.m. the Chicago media and the cynical Bears fans out there were back to the status quo.

Labeling the hiring as a “typical Bears move” and saying that Emery didn’t lay out a clear vision for the organization moving forward, the media and select Bears fans complained that this wasn’t the change they were looking for.

Said Dan Bernstein of WSCR 670 The Score, “You essentially have rehired Jerry Angelo,” as he noted that Emery sounds like Angelo when he speaks.

Really, Dan? You’re going to complain about the way a guy speaks and link his potential job performance to his predecessor based on the tone of his voice or how he speaks to the media?

This is what Emery said when asked by a reporter to compare his philosophy to that of Angelo’s: “I’m a very different person than Jerry. I worked with Jerry and I respect him, but we both come from very different backgrounds.”

Satisfied? Done. Let’s move on from that moronic comparison.

Bernstein added: “I want to know who is in charge of the Chicago Bears, and right now we still have absolutely no idea.”

I’ll tell you how to remedy that, Dan.  You and your buffoon partner, Terry Boers, need to spend less time making snide comments during press conferences and actually listen to what is being said.

Who is in charge, you ask? Virginia McCaskey owns the team. Her sons all have various roles within the organization and George is the chairman. Ted Phillips is the president and CEO who manages the financial decisions and has the authority to hire a general manager. Ted answers to George. Emery is now the general manager and is responsible for the football decisions such as hiring the head coach, drafting players, making the final decision on trades and free agent acquisitions, and managing the player personnel evaluators. Emery reports to Phillips. Finally, Lovie Smith is the head coach and is charge of hiring his assistant coaches and Smith reports to Emery.

What is complicated about that? There are only four levels to be concerned about. There was a clear pecking order that was delivered to us by Phillips a few weeks ago when Angelo was fired.

I’ll be the first to admit that Emery is no public speaker. I had a difficult time sitting through his interview — first, because Boers and Bernstein were making juvenile comments throughout the press conference that made it difficult to hear him speak. But once I switched to AM 1000 and was actually able to hear him, it was clear that Emery did not have a lot of public speaking experience because he stumbled over words a lot, repeated questions for his own understanding, and sounded somewhat nervous.

But speaking to the Chicago media is the least important quality I need from a general manager. I don’t care what he says; I care what he does.

Bernstein went on to berate Emery for failing to sound decisive, failing to take charge and acknowledge the team’s shortcomings. Matt Forte’s contract extension was asked about by a reporter. A backup quarterback was mentioned. The need for a bigger, better wide receiver likewise was brought up.

To these questions, Emery responded just the way I had hoped he would respond.

“When it comes time to publicly assess our needs we will not do that because I feel that is a competitive disadvantage,” Emery decisively stated.

That wasn’t good enough to satisfy the blowhards in the media and the meatballs around the city, all of whom feel they’re stockholders in the organization and have a right to know what really goes on in the minds of the men at Halas Hall and what is talked about behind closed doors.

“Is he pretending the Bears defense isn’t aging?” an irate Bernstein fumed, his voice rising like a boiling tea kettle. “You can’t confront the fact that the defense is getting old? You can’t even admit that? He denied the fact that the Bears defense is aging!”

Dan, for someone who criticizes his callers for using the words “we” and “us” when referring to the Bears, your comments suggest you feel that you have some sort of personal attachment to the organization. Or, at least, you feel that you are entitled to information you really don’t need to have. Why do you care what Emery says about the defense? Because you want fodder for your show which you can use to throw back in Emery’s face to the delight of your cult followers with their idiotic monikers.

Does anybody truly think that any general manager is going to give you his honest opinion about the quality of his team, or the areas of need he’ll address in the upcoming offseason? If you do — to quote Bernstein — then you’re an idiot.

Why would Emery outright say, “our defense is getting old?” That’s a slap in the face to those players on that side of the ball. Why would he say, “we’re going to put the franchise tag on Matt Forte if he doesn’t sign an extension?” That would hurt negotiations between Forte and the team. Why would he say, “our wide receivers were not good enough last year?” or “our offensive line has major holes in it?” or “we need another pass rusher?”

In short, if you are a person who thinks he or she knows what the holes of the team are, then why do you need to hear the Bears admit it? Would it give you some kind of vindication as an armchair GM?

The fact is, the organization from top to bottom, from the McCaskeys to Phillips to Emery and to Smith, will not publicly admit their weaknesses for two reasons, one of which is that they care about their players as people, too. There’s a thing called tact that Bears exhibit, which annoys those in the Chicago media because they feel they’re being lied to. Just because Dan Bernstein doesn’t care about others’ feelings besides his own, that doesn’t mean the Bears have to publicly denigrate the players on the roster.

I fully support Emery’s — and the Bears organization’s — right to dance around questions regarding personnel. It is most definitely a competitive disadvantage, as Emery put it, to talk about areas of weakness and what he intends to do to fix the holes on this team.

Monday’s press conference was simply a chance to meet and greet the new general manager and find out his background and his vision for the future, both of which he managed to articulate.

Any questions regarding specific weaknesses on the team should have been left at the door. Let’s not judge him by what he says; let’s grade him by what he does to improve this team.

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